AMD launched the Ryzen 9 3950X a short while back, the first 16 core consumer CPU, ever. The Matisse flagship essentially blurs the line between mainstream and HEDT chips, bringing workstation levels of performance to consumer PCs. AMD has been a bit stingy when it comes to the sampling of the 3950X and only a few select outlets have gotten the review units. As such, I’ll be analyzing one such review and coming to my own conclusion.
AMD Ryzen 9 3950X Gaming Benchmarks
Let’s start off with Oxide’s Ashes of the Singularity. This is one of the most well-optimized DX12 titles out there scaling up to as much as 18 CPU cores. The result: In the CPU test, AMD’s Ryzen 9 3950X is one of the fastest chips in TomsHardware’s suite. The Core i9-9980XE is slightly ahead on account of its higher core count, something it further consolidates upon being overclocked.
Civ VI sees a similar result with the 3950X being the fastest CPU at stock speeds. The Core i9-9900K and the 9700K manage to edge past it when overclocked showing that games will continue to benefit from higher core counts no matter how well they scale.
GTA V is one of the few DX11 titles that play well with HEDT CPUs. Here, under stock conditions, the Ryzen 9 3900X is tied with the Core i7-9700K as the fastest CPU but once overclocked the Intel chips mark a convincing win. From this, you can conclude that Rockstar’s RAGE engine scales well up to 12 cores, but after that, it’s just the core clocks that affect performance.
Another DX11 title that scales surprisingly well with higher core counts, Final Fantasy XV sees the stock Core i9-9980XE lead the pack under stock conditions. The Ryzen 9 3900X comes in a close second, but the i7-9700K leaves all the HEDT parts in the dust once overclocked to 5.1GHz. This is another game that supports as many as 12 cores but is affected more by the CPU frequencies past that.
AMD Ryzen 9 3950X: Content Creation
Starting off with the trusty Cinebench R20 test, we see the Ryzen 9 3950X beating all the other CPUs except the overclocked Skylake-X flagship. As you can see, overclocking these HEDT parts seems to have a massive impact on real-world performance.
POV, Blender and Corona show similar results, with the Ryzen 9 3950X beating the more expensive Core i9-9980XE by a notable margin. However, Intel’s overclocking capability gives the Skylake chip some credibility.
Handbrake is one of those applications that will take as many cores as you throw at it. Surprisingly, the 3950X manages to beat the 9980XE (even when OC’d) despite the fact that it comes with a higher core count.
In 7-zip’s compression benchmark, the Core i9-9980XE wins on account of its higher core count. Here, as you can see the thread count is much more important than individual single-core performance and as such, the top-end Coffee Lake chips are left behind in the dirt.
Conclusion: The All-Round Performance CPU
Till the end of 2016, the mainstream consumer market topped out at 4 cores and eight threads (core i7-7700K). Then came AMD’s Ryzen CPUs, first doubling that number to eight and not quadrupling it to 16.
The Ryzen 9 3950X is a chip for just about anything. Thanks to its high boost clocks, it delivers excellent gaming performance, on par with contemporary Intel parts while the 16 cores allow it to trump the much more expensive 9980XE which not only costs more but has a higher core count as well as a higher TDP.